Alt+Tab is a handy feature exist in all recent versions of Windows operating system. The feature, as most of us know, lets users quickly switch between running applications without having to click the application icon on the taskbar.
With default settings, in Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate editions (where Aero is turned on by default on supported hardware), when you press the Alt+Tab hotkey, thumbnails of all running application windows appear on the screen with a preview of the most recently accessed application window. You can quickly switch between these thumbnails by pressing the Tab key or using arrow keys.
The problem with the above behaviour of Alt+Tab is that you need to quickly select a thumbnail as soon as you click Alt+Tab before Windows 7 automatically switches to the application that is being highlighted. In simple words, when dealing with tens of programs, you might not get enough time to look for the application thumbnail you want to switch to. ‘
In short, if tens of applications are running, you need to quickly select the thumbnail of the application you want to start using to avoid switching to the most recently used application.
Luckily, one can easily turn off the preview feature of Alt+Tab in Windows 7 by disabling Aero Peek. Although you can quickly disable the Aero Peek feature by right-clicking on the Peek button located extreme right on the taskbar, this will not disable the preview feature. To turn off the preview, you need to completely disable Aero Peek by navigating to Performance Options.
Alternatively, you can turn off Alt+Tab thumbnails and get back classic Alt+Tab by following the instructions in method 2.
Turn off the preview feature of Alt+Tab
For those who aren’t sure, here is how to disable the Alt+Tab preview by turning off Aero Peek feature.
Step 1: Open System Properties dialog. To do so, open Start menu, click Run button to open Run command box (see how to pin Run to Start menu), type Sysdm.cpl in the box, and then press Enter key.
Step 2: Once System Properties dialog is launched, click on the Advanced tab.
Step 3: Here, under System Performance section, click Settings to open Performance Options dialog.
Step 4: Now, look for the option labelled Aero Peek and uncheck the same. Finally, click Apply button to turn off Aero Peek as well as Alt+Tab preview.
Please note that turning off Aero Peek will not disable the Aero feature.
Turning off the thumbnail preview
Those of you who would like to get Windows XP-styled classic Alt+Tab in Windows 7 can do so by editing the Registry.
Step 1: Type Regedit in the Start menu search box and then press Enter key. Click Yes button when you see the UAC prompt to open Registry Editor.
Step 2: In the Registry Editor, navigate to the following key:
Step 3: On the right-side of Explorer, create a new DWORD (32-bit) Value named AltTabSettings and change its value to 1 (one). That’s it! This will disable Alt+Tab thumbnails and bright back Windows XP-style classic Alt+Tab.